BuzzFeed News wins China detention investigation


BuzzFeed News won a Pulitzer Prize Friday for a series of innovative articles that used satellite imagery, 3D architectural models, and daring interviews to expose China’s vast infrastructure. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims arrested in the Xinjiang region. The Pulitzer Prize is the highest honor in journalism, and this is the digital outlet’s first win since it was founded in 2012.

and the FinCEN . File Series From BuzzFeed News and the International Consortium of Journalists, the largest investigative journalism project ever, which exposed corruption in the global banking industry, was honored as a Pulitzer Prize finalist. a Former US Treasury official sentenced to prison Just last week for the leak of thousands of classified government documents that were a genesis.

The Xinjiang Series won the International Reporting category and was recognized as a finalist in the Explanatory Reporting category, and FinCEN Files was recognized as one of the finalists in the International Reporting category. BuzzFeed News has reached the Pulitzer Final twice before.

Pulitzer Prizes were also given to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune for its coverage of the police killing of George Floyd and its aftermath. Darnella Frazier, the teen who recorded the viral video of Floyd’s death, a special quote Pulitzer Prizes. The Boston Globe has won investigative reports revealing systematic failures by state governments to share information about dangerous truck drivers. Ed Yong of the Atlantic won the Explanatory Reporting Award for his work on the COVID-19 pandemic. He shared the award with a team of Reuters reporters for examining how “qualified immunity” protects police who use excessive force from prosecution.

Pulitzer for Local Reports went to the Tampa Bay Times to expose a secretive Mayor intelligence operation to shape schoolchildren, while the Marshall Project team, the Alabama Media Group, the Indianapolis Star and the Invisible Institute won the year-round national reporting category. An investigation of K-9 units and the harm sniffer dogs cause to Americans. The New York Times won the “Public Service Reporting Pulitzer” award for its “courageous, wise, and comprehensive coverage of the coronavirus pandemic that exposed racial and economic inequality, and government failures in the United States and abroad.”

In 2017, shortly after China began detaining thousands of Muslims in Xinjiang, BuzzFeed News reporter Mega Rajagopalan was The first to visit a concentration camp – At a time when China denied the existence of such places.

In response, the government tried to silence her, revoking her visa and expelled from the country, “BuzzFeed News wrote in its entry for the award. It will continue to cut off access to the entire region from most Westerners and obstruct journalists. The release of key facts about detainees has slowed considerably.”

Working from London, and refusing to be silenced, Rajagopalan has partnered with two contributors, Alison Keeling, a licensed architect who specializes in forensic analysis of architecture and satellite images of buildings, and Christo Boschek, a programmer who builds custom tools for data journalists.

“Xinjiang’s incendiary stories shed much-needed light on one of the worst human rights abuses of our time,” said Mark Shoves, BuzzFeed News Editor-in-Chief. “I am very proud of Mega – who was expelled from China and yet still finds ways to cover this critical story – as well as Allison and Christo for their brave and harrowing investigations, a leading example of innovative forensic analysis and creative reporting.”

Minutes after her win, Rajagopalan told BuzzFeed News that she wasn’t watching the concert live because she wasn’t expecting to win. I only found out when the Schoofs called to congratulate her on the victory.

“I’m in complete shock, I didn’t expect this,” Rajagopalan said by phone from London.

She said she is very grateful to the teams of people who worked with her on this matter, including her collaborators, Killing and Buschek, her editor Alex Campbell, the BuzzFeed News public relations team, and the organizations that funded their work, including the Pulitzer Center.

Rajagopalan also acknowledged the courage of the sources who spoke with them despite the danger and threat of retaliation against them and their families.

“I am so grateful that they stood up and were willing to speak to us,” she said. “It takes incredible courage to do that.”

The three of them set out to analyze thousands of satellite images of Xinjiang, an area larger than Alaska, to try to answer a simple question: Where have Chinese officials been holding up to a million Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other Muslim minorities?

For months, the trio compared censored Chinese photos to uncensored mapping software. They started with a massive data set of 50,000 websites. Buschek has built a dedicated tool for sorting those photos. Then, “the team had to go through thousands of images one by one, to check several sites against other available evidence,” BuzzFeed News wrote in the award entry.

They eventually identified more than 260 buildings that appeared to be fortified concentration camps. Some locations were able to hold more than 10,000 people and many were contained Factories where prisoners are forced to work.

The groundbreaking technology report was also accompanied by a large-scale, old-fashioned press on “shoe leather”.

After being denied entry to China, Rajagopalan traveled to neighboring Kazakhstan, a country known for its authoritarian motives, where many Chinese Muslims sought refuge. There, Rajagopalan identified more than twenty people who were prisoners in the Xinjiang camps, earning their trust and convincing them. Share their terrifying accounts with the world.

Take one article readers Inside a campDescribed in unprecedented vivid detail from the survivor’s accounts and then transformed, thanks to Killing’s architectural skills, into a 3D model.

“Throughout her journalistic coverage, Rajagopalan has had to put up with harassment from the Chinese government, which has continued beyond her being forced to pack up her apartment in Beijing at short notice,” the award statement read. At one point, the Chinese government “published their personal information, including the government identification number, on Twitter.”

Ultimately, the series of four stories painted a compelling and detailed picture of China’s horrific arrest and treatment of its Muslim citizens, which the major Western nations have done. It was described as genocide and a crime against humanity.

BuzzFeed News’ second honor was the FinCEN File, which was selected as a finalist in the International Reporting category.

The series, billed as the largest journalism project in history, has seen more than 100 news organizations in 88 countries collaborate on a series of news stories for 16 months.

It all started in 2017 when BuzzFeed News reporter Jason Leopold received a massive cache of classified US government documents from a source. The documents included more than 2,100 Suspicious Activity Reports, or SARs, which are top-secret documents that banks provided to alert the government to potential criminal activity. Few people have seen it before.

Partnering with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, BuzzFeed News and collaborating newsrooms vetted through documents, whose narrative sections are 3 million words long — 14 times the length of a novel Moby Dick. Then they checked it three times. The process took over a year to complete.

In addition, journalists have conducted hundreds of interviews worldwide, obtained vast amounts of internal bank statements and thousands of pages of public records, and filed dozens of Freedom of Information Act requests and numerous public records lawsuits.

The investigation revealed, among other things, how five giants in the global banking industry – JPMorgan, HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, Deutsche Bank and Bank of New York Mellon – profited from fee for suspicious transactions involving drug smugglers and terrorists.

The global response to the stories that exposed the torrent of dirty money has been profound. FinCEN files registered giving final push to successful passage of Comprehensive Anti-Money Laundering Legislation in the United States. Lawmakers from the United Kingdom to the European Union to Thailand to Liberia have also launched their own investigations.

“The FinCEN files have taken financial reporting to new heights,” Schoofs said. “Jason has received an unprecedented array of classified government documents from a brave source, Natalie Mayflower Sowers Edwards, who was recently sentenced to prison for supplying them. Starting with these invaluable documents, Massive reporting efforts spanning the globe have revealed how major banks have profited from the dirty money flowing through their accounts, while the US government has been watching but rarely taking action.”

Last week, a former Treasury official, Natalie Mayflower Source Edwards, was sentenced to six months in prison for leaking top-secret banking documents to Leopold. Edwards – a former senior counsel with the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN – was not accused of leaking documents that served as the basis for the FinCEN file series, but admitted after being sentenced to do so.

BuzzFeed News Editor-in-Chief Mark Choffs, who Beat the Pulitzer Himself in 2000 for international reports, wrote Opinion article for the New York Times On Thursday, President Joe Biden called for Edwards to be pardoned in recognition of the massive corruption exposed by her actions.

The 11 current and former BuzzFeed News correspondents honored by the Pulitzer Committee for the FinCEN Series are Leopold, Anthony Cormier, John Templon, Tom Warren, Jeremy Singer Fine, Scott Pham, Richard Holmes, Azine Grishi, Michael Salah, Tanya Kozyreva, and Emma Loeb.

BuzzFeed News has been shortlisted for a Pulitzer before. In 2018, the outlet was a finalist in International Reports for a series of stories that linked more than a dozen deaths in the United States and the United Kingdom to The Kremlin’s targeted assassination program. A year ago, BuzzFeed News was honored as a finalist in the same category for achieving reveal how Big Companies Exploit Powerful Dispute Resolution Process To subjugate countries to their will.

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